Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fashion Messages

Space Base Stockholm, clothing design proposal for space travel, 2007

Fashion messages are non-verbal. They are recognized by consistent re-appearance. The one time appearance of a singular fashion code may be meaningful but repetitive messages become part of the fashion language of forms.

In order to describe the non-verbal messages, we have to name them in some manner. Naming fashion messages is not a fixed term but rather a basic attempt to understand the values that are expressed.

Fashion Message #1: The Future
There is a contemporary emphasis on ecological, sustainable, global values. The message is a protection of the future.

"The future" is a term that can be associated with these values
desire for improvement
the machine
virtual reality
the apocalypse

"The future" is a message in the fashion landscape, verified by Bradley Quinn in "Hussein Chalyan: Fashion & Technology." The author describes “designers of the future” will be more like technicians incorporating machines into clothing.

Clothing that communicates a message of the future

Synthetics and ecologically sustainable
Durable forms
Digital and chip components

Images that communicate a message of the future

V 45 by photographer David Sims and stylist Karl Templer

V 45 by photographer David Sims and stylist Karl Templer

Harper's Bazaar, December 2006

Dolce & Gabbana, SS 2007 by Steven Klein

Brands that communicate a message of the future
Although now seen as a nostalgic retro-future, Andre Courreges is a brand that remains dedicated to a manufactured future of continued invention. The website and logotype use a clean white machine made aesthetic.

In the examples of communication of “the future” there is a shared emphasis on a 20th century concept of manufacturing control and more recent 21st century values of sustainability. The message is communicated through clean lines, technology and both synthetic and natural fibers. This message of the future is opposed by the message of nostalgic, traditional forms.

Alexander McQueen, F 2008

Fashion Message # 2: The Nightmare
There is a consistent appearance of black and a dark color palette in fashion, accompanied by broken and destroyed forms and bizarre imagery.

"The nightmare" is a term that can be associated with these values
Darkness, night
Memory, the past
Terror, threat, danger
The idea of life gone wrong
Fantasy that is connected to reality

"The nightmare" is an existing message in the fashion and cultural landscape. Contemporary writer Slavoj Zizek who explains “Freud said beautifully that a dream-come-true is a nightmare.”

Clothing that communicates the message of the nightmare

night emphasis
dark color palette, bizarre color combinations
ripped, distorted or broken forms
Gothic and Victorian references
style confusion

Images that communicate the message of the nightmare

Helmut Newton, 1980's

Helmut Newton, Wolford, 1999

Guy Bourdin for Charles Jourdan, 1978

Brands that communicate the message of the nightmare
Rick Owens uses a traditional signature logotype but his website appears in black and white with images that seem dark and fragmented. He also has a small label named Drkshdw.

Rick Owens, Drkshdw

In the examples of communication of “the nightmare,” there is a shared emphasis on a dark color palette, torn and broken forms and some gothic era references. An opposition to this communication is found in daylight, bright colors and joyful forms.

Gap Holiday, 2008

The combination of messages!

Helmut Newton

While it is possible to recognize the re-appearance of messages there is also a bricolage in fashion that brings many values together, as the above image communicates both a message of the future and the nightmare. We can recognize particular messages but there is no limit to combinations.

1 comment:

  1. The only constant in fashion is change. And I guess that's what makes fashion more interesting. alesiaraut